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Article

T. F. C. Blagg

(b Damascus; d Rome, c. ad 125).

Roman architect. His first known work, and possibly his training, was in military engineering. He constructed the 1135-m-long bridge across the Danube (nr Turnu Severin, Romania) in ad 103–5, between Trajan’s two Dacian campaigns. It had a timber superstructure and arches on huge masonry piers and is represented on Trajan’s Column in Rome. Apollodorus’ treatise on the bridge remains untraced. His other major achievements were in Rome. Dio (LXIX.iv.1) recorded that he built the Baths and Forum of Trajan and an odeum. Substantial remains of the first two survive. The forum, built in ad 107–13 and famous in antiquity for its magnificence, was a boldly conceived project that involved the removal of part of the Quirinal Hill (see Rome, §V, 2). Apollodoros was probably also architect of the adjacent Markets of Trajan, since its masterly adaptation to its site seems integral with the forum’s design (c....

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

Daniela Campanelli

(b Lugano, March 26, 1787; d Naples, Dec 6, 1849).

Italian architect and archaeologist, of Swiss origin. He was a pupil of Luigi Cagnola and attended the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Milan, graduating in architecture at Pavia in 1806. He lived in Rome and between 1810 and 1814 was superintendent of the excavation of the Colosseum, which was being directed by Giuseppe Valadier. In 1812 Bianchi published the Osservazioni sull’arena e sul podio dell’Anfiteatro Flavio … in Rome, and he also carried out excavations on the Forum Romanum.

As a member of the Accademia di S Luca, Bianchi was put forward to design the layout of the Largo di Palazzo (now the Piazza del Plebiscito), Naples; the commission was awarded him by Ferdinand I of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (reg 1759–1825). Ferdinand had in fact announced a competition in 1817 for the completion of this work, which had been initiated by Joachim Murat, King of Naples, in ...

Article

Valeria Farinati

(b Casale Monferrato, Oct 24, 1795; d Florence, Oct 17, 1856).

Italian architect, archaeologist and architectural historian. He studied architecture at the University of Turin (1810–12) under Ferdinando Bonsignore (1767–1843) and his assistant Giuseppe Talucchi (1782–1863). After serving (1812–14) in the fortress of Alessandria, he resumed his studies and obtained a degree in architecture in 1814. He served a period of apprenticeship under Talucchi, who helped him obtain a three-year grant from the Court of Turin for further study in Rome, where Canina settled in January 1818. He worked on engravings of Roman monuments under the antiquarian, scholar and publisher Mariano Vasi (1744–1820), and at the end of his three-year period as pensionato, he presented a survey of the Colosseum (Anfiteatro Flavio descritto, misurato e restaurato; dispersed) to the architects of the Accademia di S Luca, including Giuseppe Valadier, who were much impressed.

In 1824 Canina was appointed to execute his scheme for the expansion of the park of the ...

Article

Thomas J. McCormick

(b Paris, baptAug 28, 1721; d Auteuil, Jan 19, 1820).

French architect, archaeologist and painter. He was an important if controversial figure associated with the development of the Neo-classical style of architecture and interior design and its dissemination throughout Europe and the USA. He studied at the Académie Royale d’Architecture, Paris, under Germain Boffrand and won the Grand Prix in 1746. He spent the years 1749 to 1754 at the Académie Française in Rome but left after an argument with the director Charles-Joseph Natoire over his refusal to make his Easter Communion; this may have been due to his Jansenist sympathies. He nevertheless remained in Italy until 1767. During these years he became a close friend of Piranesi, Winckelmann, Cardinal Alessandro Albani and other members of the international circle interested in the Antique.

In his early student days in Rome, Clérisseau became acquainted in particular with English travellers and began to sell them his attractive topographical drawings of Roman architecture. Initially these were influenced by his studies with ...

Article

Elizabeth Rawson

(Decimus)

(fl c. 170 bc).

First known Roman architect. Though a Roman citizen, he probably came from wealthy, Hellenized Campania (annexed by Rome). The pro-Roman King Antiochos IV Epiphanes of Syria (reg 175–163 bc) commissioned him to work on the Temple of Olympian Zeus at Athens (see Athens, §II, 4). Vitruvius (On Architecture VII, Preface 15 and 17) noted the temple’s huge cella and double Corinthian colonnade, which showed architectural learning and were admired by connoisseurs for their magnificence; he regretted that Cossutius left no annotated specification, as Greek architects had done. Surviving material, if datable to his time, is Greek and advanced in style, unlike contemporary building in Rome. The name Cossutius (in Latin letters) is also twice scratched inside a 2nd-century bc aqueduct near Antioch in Syria, suggesting that the architect worked on Antiochos’ building programme there. He may have travelled with his own workforce (as was common in the Greek world), probably chiefly his slaves and freedmen: the inscription could record a freedman, properly bearing his patron’s name. He may also have worked on the new Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus at Antioch and on buildings presented by Antiochos to various Greek cities....

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

[Satra]

Greek city situated on the island of Crete, by the north-west foothills of mount Psiloritis (anc. Ida), 30 km south-east of the present-day city of Rethymnon. It was a centre for Aegean and Greek culture from the Prehistoric to the Byzantine periods (4th millennium bc–7th century bc).

Ancient Eleutherna is a typical example of a Cretan polis (city) inhabited continuously from at least from the 9th century bc (the so-called ‘Dark Age’ of Greek history) to the late Roman and Byzantine period (6th–7th century bc). Even before that, archaeological finds suggest the existence of a continuous presence on the site from the late Neolithic (4th millennium bc) through to a flourishing Minoan site of the 3rd to 2nd millennia bc. Although later construction all but eliminated traces of prehistoric architecture, there is still significant evidence to confirm unbroken habitation. In historical times (9th century...

Article

Barry Bergdoll

(b Cologne, June 15, 1790; d Paris, Dec 31, 1853).

French architect, writer and archaeologist of German birth. In 1810 he left Cologne with his lifelong friend J. I. Hittorff for Paris, enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1811 under the tutelage of the ardent Neo-classicists Louis-Hippolyte Lebas and François Debret. But from the beginning Gau was exposed to a wider field of historical sources, first as assistant site architect under Debret on the restoration of the abbey church of Saint-Denis (1813–15) and then from 1815 in Nazarene circles in Rome, where he met the archaeologist and philologist Barthold Nieburh (1776–1831), who arranged a scholarship for him from the Prussian government and a trip through the eastern Mediterranean. In Egypt Gau undertook an arduous trip down the Nile to visit and record the monuments of Nubia, which he published as the lavish folio Antiquités de la Nubie. He noted assiduously every trace of colour on the remains, just as he was to do in ...

Article

John Wilton-Ely

[Giambattista]

(b Mogliano, nr Mestre, Oct 4, 1720; d Rome, Nov 9, 1778).

Italian etcher, engraver, designer, architect, archaeologist and theorist. He is considered one of the supreme exponents of topographical engraving, but his lifelong preoccupation with architecture was fundamental to his art. Although few of his architectural designs were executed, he had a seminal influence on European Neo-classicism through personal contacts with architects, patrons and visiting artists in Rome over the course of nearly four decades. His prolific output of etched plates, which combined remarkable flights of imagination with a strongly practical understanding of ancient Roman technology, fostered a new and lasting perception of antiquity. He was also a designer of festival structures and stage sets, interior decoration and furniture, as well as a restorer of antiquities. The interaction of this rare combination of activities led him to highly original concepts of design, which were advocated in a body of influential theoretical writings. The ultimate legacy of his unique vision of Roman civilization was an imaginative interpretation and re-creation of the past, which inspired writers and poets as much as artists and designers....

Article

Janet Delaine

(fl c. ad 80–95).

Roman architect. Martial (Epigrams, vii.56) identified Rabirius as the architect of the emperor Domitian’s palace on the Palatine (completed c. ad 92; see Rome, §V, 3). It is usually assumed that he designed all of the building, although Cantino (1966) argued that his work was restricted to the Domus Flavia, the official wing of the palace. There is no ancient evidence that Rabirius designed any of the other buildings in Rome with which he has sometimes been credited. In the formal reception rooms of the Domus Flavia, Rabirius created a worthy setting for the Emperor as world ruler. The main rooms impress by their sheer size and rich columnar decoration; the focal point of each room was an apse where the Emperor sat enthroned. On the smaller scale of the residential section (the Domus Augustana) Rabirius exploited the potential of concrete construction to create a series of novel interiors, which, although borrowing many elements from Nero’s Domus Aurea, show a far more sophisticated manipulation of curvilinear forms within a tightly organized space. There is an emphasis on variety and surprise, achieved through contrasting room shapes, unusual effects of light and water, asymmetrical approaches and unexpected views, often of spaces which were not directly accessible....